Trail of Tears Authority Speaking Nov. 11 at River Campus


by News Bureau on Tuesday, Nov. 08, 2011

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Nov. 8, 2011 – Dr. Duane King, the leading historian of the Cherokee Trail of Tears chapter of American History, will be in Cape Girardeau this week to deliver two presentations. Both presentations are free and open to the public.

At 2 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 11, King will speak on “The John Benge Detachment: A Unique Route of the Cherokee Trail of Tears Through Southeast Missouri.” This presentation will focus on the movement of a detachment of the Cherokee from their crossing of the Mississippi at Columbus, Ky., north along the river to the Cape Girardeau area and then west and south into Arkansas, and eventually Oklahoma.

This presentation will be held in the Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Museum on the River Campus of Southeast Missouri State University.

In addition, at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning, Nov. 12, King will speak in the Visitors’ Center of the Trail of Tears State Park north of Cape Girardeau. The topic of this presentation will be, “The Northern Route of the Forced Removal of the Cherokee Trail of Tears.” King will describe the Cherokee experiences on the Trail of Tears in the vicinity of Cape Girardeau.

King is the executive director of the Gilcrease Museum and vice president for museum affairs and Thomas Gilcrease Chair at the University of Tulsa. He previously served as executive director of the Southwest Museum of the Autry National Center in Los Angeles. Prior to joining the Southwest Museum in 1995, he served for five years as assistant director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian for the George Gustav Heye Center in New York City. King has taught at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and Chattanooga, Cleveland State College and Northeastern State University, and held the first endowed chair in Cherokee Studies at Western Carolina University.

King earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee and his Master of Arts and doctoral degrees from the University of Georgia. His doctoral dissertation was “A Grammar and Dictionary of the Cherokee Language. He has written extensively on the Cherokee Removal and has authored more than 100 publications on various aspects of Museum Studies and Native American culture and history.

King’s presentations are sponsored by the Trail of Tears State Park and the Center for Regional History at Southeast Missouri State University.

For more information, contact Denise Dowling, Trail of Tears State Park, (573) 290-5268, or Dr. Frank Nickell, Center for Regional History, Southeast Missouri State University, (573) 651-2555.